HON. GENERAL SECRETARY’S LETTER
153 Oxford Road, Dukinfield,
THE MARQUETARIAN is one year old this month. This is the fourth edition issued by the Society, the first actual booklet being sent out in January this year to our full membership then of 36. This month over 200 copies will be posted to our members all over the British Isles. What remarkable progress we have made during the past few months, with membership rocketing to 200, our Annual Exhibition displaying over 140 marquetry pieces at Guildford and then going on a NATIONAL TOUR and with members travelling from the North and South of the country to attend our Second Annual General Meeting at Birmingham. The formation of District Groups in BIRMINGHAM, GUILDFORD. MANCHESTER and LONDON, have greatly assisted recruitment and I hope to see in the near future, other groups commencing activities in the following centres:
LIVERPOOL (4 members); BRISTOL (5 members);
PRESTON (4 members); HULL (3 members); LEEDS (4 members); NOTTINGHAM (3 members); DONCASTER (3 members);
GLASGOW (2 members); BRADFORD (2 members); NEWPORT
(Mon.) (2 members); LINCOLN (2 members); EDINBURGH
If YOU are included in the above list, then please do try to contact your neighbouring members and commence GROUP
With the inclusion of the resume of the Minutes of the Second Annual General Meeting in this journal, we are rather restricted for space, and I am not going to take up any more space than is necessary with my letter to you.
It is with considerable trepidation that I present this issue as your new Editor and I trust that readers will bear with me if it falls short of previous standards. As you will see the Journal has undergone a change in its layout due to a change in the method of printing and it is hoped that members will find that it is as attractive to read as of old.
Every endeavour will be made to improve the Journal but here I am largely in your hands. I appeal to all members to endeavour to contribute articles for inclusion. If you feel that you cannot contribute anything of technical interest why not try your hand at an amusing short story. The Journal need not confine itself to technical material only, in fact I am sure a little light relief in moderation will be welcome. I am particularly anxious to receive regular quarterly group reports for inclusion, and also ‘wish to see the “Letters to the Editor” column used ‘more frequently. If you read anything in the Journal with which you disagree, take up that pen and write an irate letter to the Editor!
A new feature of the Journal is the competition “Choose Your Veneers” which has been devised by D. K. Walters, our Hon. General Treasurer. I think you will agree that this competition is a most fascinating one; it could be called “armchair marquetry.” It is hoped that members will give the competition their full support in the knowledge that the proceeds will be used to better the services offered by the Society. The competition design serves a dual purpose for it is also your free design for this quarter.
The first chapter of a series covering the craft of marquetry appears in this issue. The chapter covers that most important tool in marquetry, the knife; later chapters will cover the cutting. laying, polishing and finishing of a picture. Any member who thinks he is qualified to write on any coo of those aspects should get in contact with me immediately.
In the next issue of the Journal we shall be publishing the first of four articles on Trees to supplement the series already running on “Timber Identification”. This knowledge should do much to help you know your woods and give an additional interest in the craft.
In our last issue we had an appeal from a member for guidance regarding suitable woods to be used for various subjects. Could I have some suggestions for this reader please?
In conclusion, I will welcome constructive criticism on the layout of the Journal and any suggestions to improve it will be given full consideration.
MARQUETRY EQUIPMENT. CHAPTER ONE
KNIVES — By Cliff Penny
A short chapter on tools and equipment is insufficient to describe the important details in collecting together a useful kit as cheaply as possible in order to practise marquetry. However, it is possible to cover a few tools and minor pieces of equipment, and in this edition a few words on selecting a suitable knife is given.
There are a variety of ready-made knives on the market which are quite suitable for cutting veneers. Perhaps the best known make is the X-Acto. It is worth mentioning for the benefit of those members who are ignorant of ‘the existence of these knives’ that a chuck movement is fixed to hold the blade. This is most useful as it enables the user to change the blade if required to one more suitable for the particular type of cut being made, as there are a variety of different shaped blades. It also enables the replacement of worn blades. From personal experience I have found that Nos. 2 and 5 knife handles together with Nos. 11, 16, 19 and 24 blades is a useful combination for marquetry purposes. I must admit that No. 5 handle may be a bit too heavy for some enthusiasts, but it can be handy for cutting border pieces, or for removing tapes from the face of the marquetry after it has been laid. Choice of knife handle must rest with the individual who knows his own requirements and touch. Another manufactured knife is the new “Multicraft” which has recently appeared in most tool shops. It is not unlike the X-Acto, the blades and chuck being identical. The advantage and attraction of this make is its lightness and the fact that four blades can be housed inside the handle which has a spring clip to enable one to fix to the pocket similar to a fountain-pen.
Home made Knives
These in my opinion are the best of all, for the making of a good knife gives complete satisfaction apart from the added save of spending money, which can be better used on other pieces of equipment which cannot be made by the enthusiast. Obtain a high-speed hacksaw blade and break it across the width a suitable angle, generally 45 degrees or a little less is the best. File down the jagged point and then commence to grind to give a beveled edge and a god point. Use a rough stone far this stage. When satisfied that the blade has taken the right shape, finish off on a fine stone; you will find that the addition of a little paraffin helps sharpening. I should add that the bevel should be made on the right-hand side of the blade, the bevel thus pushing sway ‘the unrequired part of the veneer when cutting and giving a sharp and accurate edge to the veneer when cut. Do not bevel both sides as cutting will not be as satisfactory.
The length of the blade when finished should be about 4½ inches to 5 inches. Now the handle can be prepared by obtaining a piece of hardwood 6 inches long and about ½-inch square, possibly oak, sycamore or walnut. Make a saw cut down the centre to the extent of 4 inches or as near as the user considers best. Insert the blade and bind round with adhesive tape (as used in First Aid) or alternatively, a good length as sticky paper or cellophane tape. This will hold the
blade in the handle and can be removed when a new blade is required. Finally, if the end of the handle is beveled, it can be very useful for pressing pieces into position when assembling your picture. Before using the knife, make sure it is comfortable to hold, and if any edges are inclined to bite into the flesh, carve or file out to take the shape of your grip. A comfortable grip is important, being an essential for good cutting and the making of perfect joints. Keep the knife as light as possible. I recently saw a knife advertised so heavy and weighty that it must be impractical in use for marquetry purposes; in fact, exaggerating, you could have built a house with it!
Other knives which can be adapted are surgeon’s or chiropodist’s scalpels and these make excellent tools, but are very difficult to obtain. One or two commercial marquetry concerns have mentioned the use of razor blades and even scissors! Any person giving this some thought can see how ridiculous is this suggestion. The razor blade is too brittle and lacks the strength and flexibility necessary in cutting out shaped ‘pieces, and apart from this, there is an element of danger incurred should it suddenly snap. As for scissors, any concern advocating their use as an easy method of cutting, is obviously not interested in the craft, but is anxious to sell his wares to the unsuspecting beginner in order to obtain the beginner’s interest and of course his £ s. d.
One other piece of equipment necessary to use in conjunction with the knife is a good cutting board. A convenient size is 18ins. x 12ins. Select a soft wood, e.g., Obeche, Sereyah or Gaboon, in fact any timber that cuts easily. The reason is fairly obvious, as when cutting your veneers the ‘point of the knife will penetrate and will not be broken as it would do if it came into contact with a very hard surface. The blade’s sharpness is thus maintained. Therefore thought is advisable when obtaining a cutting board if you wish to safeguard the life of your blades.
TREES IN MARQUETRY by S. Brand
In pictorial marquetry trees and foliage often take the form of important features in support of the main interest and all too often insufficient regard to the detail of these supporting features tends to draw attention away from the main interest. Trees, bushes, etc., are subjects which require very careful treatment and if the desired effect is to be obtained there are certain principles which must be adhered to in order to make a picture technically correct.
The placing of trees in their natural surroundings is of utmost importance and an elementary knowledge of their habits is essential. It is necessary to know which trees grow in open spaces, which on marshy land, sandy dry or rocky, etc. Many a picture has been spoilt by showing the wrong tree for the type of country depicted.
Trees, bushes and foliage must be placed in correct positions and must be in proportion to the other subjects in the picture. It is a common fault to find them shown much larger than they really are, with the result that they throw the rest of the picture out, of perspective and proportion. The near middle distance is possibly the best position to place trees to get the best effect of light and shade. It would also be well to remember that shadows shown in the distance are lighter and softer in tone than near shadows. Masses of light and shade are better seen on bright sunny days.
A few general pointers to bear in mind are:—
(a) When drawing a tree it is necessary to show roots as a visible means of support; a tree does not rise out of the ground like a telegraph pole.
(b) Isolated trees tend to grow low branches.
(c) Trees that are growing close together are usually tall as they try to reach the sun.
(d) Trees shown in windswept scenes show more profuse foliage on the leeside and also have a tendency to lean in the same direction as the prevailing wind.
(e) Trees growing on sloping ground lean in the same direction as the slope.
(f) Take care when depicting winter scenes to show deciduous trees without leaves.
When selecting veneers for foliage, think of the foliage not as thousands of leaves and twigs, but as masses of light and shade. A bold balanced outline is the first essential and it must be remembered that the further away the subject, the softer it is in tone. The most suitable mediums are the burrs, the best perhaps being maple, walnut or elm, but the subject is so wide and varied and the range of veneers so vast that a hard and fast rule cannot be applied.
As is always the case, practice is essential and very careful selection of veneers is necessary to get good results. “Look into the woods,” and when in doubt ruthlessly reject anything not pleasing to the eye. The few extra minutes spent finding the right piece will bring a handsome reward, after all nothing can so easily make or war a picture as a tree.
ADHESIVES by M. W. A. Wright
I read with much interest Mr. Cudmore’s letter in the August issue of the Marquetarian, and feel that a further article on the merits and demerits of balsa cement, as against those of vegetable and synthetic resin type glues, would not come amiss. I feel competent to do so as I have had many years’ experience of adhesives in general woodwork and some 18 months ago I earned out quite exhaustive tests of adhesives in relation to marquetry.
I agree with Mr. Cudmore that good pictures can be made with balsa cement but the most awful failures also occur, mainly because of blisters. In this connection I think that Mr. Cudmore’s explanation of “blistering” is at fault as in my experience blisters are caused by one or more of the following:—
(a) failure to completely cover a surface with adhesive;
(b) failure to hold the surfaces in contact until the adhesive sets;
(c) undue absorption of adhesive by one or both of the surfaces;
(d) trapping of vapour when evaporative adhesives are used;
(e) allowing the adhesive to stand too long before bringing the surfaces together thus allowing the adhesive to dry in places.
I found ‘that (d) and (e) were great causes of blisters when using balsa cement for large area—in fact this was what led me to carry out the tests—and I arrived at ‘the conclusion that it was caused by rapid evaporation of the solvent at the edges (where it is in direct contact with the air) forming a hard “skin” which prevented further evaporation from the centre. In a test piece about 8in. x 5in, the centre was soft after several days. Any slight increase in temperature caused great expansion of the trapped solvent and resulted in the worst “blister” I have ever seen—in fact adhesion had only taken place at the edges.
The tests I carried out were very thorough and included every brand of adhesive which I could obtain in Nottingham and several which were obtained from ‘the makers. Each was tested on (a) a large piece of obechi with birch, plywood backing and (b) quarter- inch strips of some 20 varieties of wood with a backing of ½-in. Chile Laurel. The tests were made for:—
(i) adhesion by straining the joint to destruction;
(ii) blisters—by tapping and splitting suspect spots;
(iii) water resistance—cold and hot;
(iv) dry heat resistance;
(v) effect on polishing;
(vi) discolouration of the wood;
(vii) expansion and contraction resulting in warping.
The adhesive which really stood out in the test was of the synthetic resin type. I have used this ever since and have yet to experience a failure. I also introduced it to the boys’ class and there also no failure has occurred, whereas with balsa cement at least 25 per cent, of their works were failures.
The remarks I made on balsa (and similar adhesives such as Durofix) when testing were:—”Good for very small areas but bad blisters on moderate size areas. Suitable for patching up damaged work or for use by the beginner on small pictures, of very small pieces, built up jig-saw fashion. Not reliable because of a tendency to blister and in some brands to ‘jell’ in the tube.”
I should add that all makers’ instructions were followed to the letter in the first tests and later, where failure occurred, the adhesive was again tested but the setting time was doubled.
I submit that the only proof of the pudding lies in tests carried out in this manner, and the fact that a particular substance or method was used in a prize-winning piece of work does not mean that that substance or method is good. I have a box which won first prize in an open woodworking competition. The carcase is obechi and the adhesive (the box was marquetried) was Croid Aero, but I would not in any circumstances advise this combination. I have in fact refused to sell it because I know it will not stand the test of time.
I assume that the advice on adhesives to which Mr. Cudimore refers was that given by Doug. Walters in an earlier issue of the Marquetarian. Well, I have read possibly hundreds of articles and books on all kinds of woodwork (I have access to what is probably the largest technical library in the country) and I can assure you that Walters’ advice was good (that is unless all the others who have studied the subject not only in Britain, but in Europe and the US.A. are wrong).
As for the charge that this type of article is discouraging to the beginner, surely any information which extends one’s knowledge is of value, especially so if it opens up new fields for exploration. Let us travel in the realms of woods, backings, adhesives and the hundreds of other subjects associated with marquetry....we shall eventually arrive at journey’s end—Perfection. Even if we never arrive, at least we shall have had an interesting journey
RESUME OF THE MINUTES OF THE SECOND ANNUAL
GENERAL MEETING OF THE MARQUETRY SOCIETY HELD AT
BIRMINGHAM ON 30th AUGUST, 1953
The meeting was attended by 18 members and at the invitation of the Executive Committee, Mrs. Stenning, the Birmingham Group Secretary took the Chair. After the minutes of the previous A.G.M. had been read and signed, the Honorary General Secretary gave a short report on the year’s activities.
Mr. Cox informed the meeting that the membership had grown to 186, 94 of whom had joined the Society in the past 3 months; at this rate of progress we should not look back. District groups now number four and all are very active. Mention was made of the outstanding success of our first Annual Exhibition at Guildford and the hard work put in by D. K. Walters. The exhibition is to go on tour under the auspices of the Odeon Cinema Organisation and will visit certain large towns in England and Scotland. Finally we learnt with deep regret of the death of James Kidd, one of our early members.
Statement of Accounts
Mr. Cox, who until now has also acted as Treasurer then read out the Statement of Accounts which are still subject to audit for the period June 1952—June 1953. These are as follows :—
by Subscriptions ....
Sale of Journal .......
£. s. d.
61 0 0
to Stationery .................
Stencils and ink .........
London Op. Postal
£. s. d
2 13 3
1 11 6
7 16 8
1 0 0
19 12 6
11 14 9
1 5 4
13 9 9
£61 2 0
£61 2 0
The position was generally agreed to be satisfactory and the statement was accepted. Mr. A. E. Webster who is an accountant, was appointed as Auditor and he undertook to find a professional colleague to assist him. The meeting directed that in future the Treasurer should issue an official receipt to all members for their subscriptions. It was decided that group secretaries could, if they wished, ask for cash grants from General Funds for initial formation expenses, it was hoped however that they would do everything possible to become self-supporting at an early date. Such grants were not to be asked for after expenditure had been incurred, but estimates should be submitted to the Honorary General Treasurer before incurring the expenses.
The suggestion was made, that as soon as funds were sufficient a small gift should be made to the Honorary General Secretary in recognition of the very considerable work that he had put into the Society. The meeting was completely in favour and the incoming Executive Committee was directed to implement this decision as soon as possible.
Election of Officers
The following officers were elected for the coming year:— Mr. J. Cox, Honorary General Secretary; Mr. D. K. Walters,
Honorary General Treasurer; Mr. N. Malyn, Editor of “Marquetarian”; all to serve on the Executive Committee.
Remaining members of the Executive Committee:—Messrs. Crawford, Stenning, Webster and Vickers.
Society Rules and Policy
The Society Rules were discussed in full detail and a number of amendments were agreed. All members will receive a copy of the revised rules in due course. One very important change in policy was agreed, for in future, the Editor of the Marquetarian is authorised to accept advertising for inclusion in the Journal, providing such advertising does not clash with the Society’s views. On no account will advertisements for kit sets be accepted.
It was suggested that a president of the Society should be appointed preferably a well-known personage. Mr. D. K. Walters mentioned that Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Kent was interested in the craft of marquetry and it was decided to approach Her Highness on this matter.
The meeting decided that the Society’s financial year should end on the 31st March of each year (see the Hon. General Treasurer’s article on Finance for effect on payment of subscriptions). As a result of this it is necessary that the next A.G.M. be held much earlier in the year and it was agreed that May 1954 would be suitable (see “Comments”).
Next Annual Exhibition
October 1954 was generally agreed as being a most suitable time for our next Annual Exhibition as it was thought that it would have more impact on the public at this time and would probably attract more members.
The question of the fees to be charged, should Occupational Therapists wish to join the Society with a view to introducing marquetry to their patients, was discussed in full. It was finally decided to leave Group Secretaries to make initial contacts and to ascertain the number of patients who wish to practise marquetry as part of their treatment. Details then to be submitted to the Executive Committee for action.
The Hon. Gen. Secretary was directed to get in touch with the Chief Welfare Officers at the War Office, Admirality and the Air Ministry and to put before them the fact that the Marquetry Society is in being and has as its purpose the promotion of the craft of marquetry as recreational activity.
Finally a hearty vote of thanks was extended to Mrs. Stenning and all other members of the Birmingham Group for the excellence of the arrangements for the meeting.
CHOOSE YOUR VENEERS COMPETITION NUMBER ONE
Enclosed is the outline of a picture suitable for Marquetry. All you have to do is to choose a veneer from the list below for EACH numbered piece on the picture, and enter it on the enclosed coupon. Enter the NUMBER of the veneer chosen in each case, NOT the name. Next, state in the space provided what you consider to be an apt title for the picture. Sign the coupon and send it With the appropriate entrance fee to the Editor of the Marquetarian.
A PRIZE OF A LARGE BUNDLE OF VENEERS will be awarded for the entry being the nearest to a sealed solution held by the Editor. In the event of more than one entry being correct the winner will be the cue whose Title for the Picture is considered to be the best.
Please read the RULES carefully before completing the coupon.
1. The competition is open to all members of the Marquetry Society excepting the Editorial Staff of the “Marquetarian.”
2. The Editor’s decision will be final and binding.
3. No correspondence can be entered into regarding this competition.
4. The winning entry shall be the coupon with the correct or most nearly correct entry as compared with a sealed solution held by the editor. In the event of more than one coupon having the correct or most nearly correct entry, the winner shall be decided by which Title for the Picture is considered to be the best.
5. Altered or mutilated coupons are liable to be disqualified.
6. Each member may submit up to FIVE attempts, which must be made on the coupon provided.
7. A CROSSED POSTAL ORDER payable to the Marquetry Society must be enclosed with the coupon, the amount depending upon the number of attempts. For the first attempt — 1/-s; for each additional attempt — 6d.
8. Entries must be received by the EDITOR at 519 Shell Road, Lewisham, London, S.E.13 NOT LATER THAN 30th November, 1953, after which date no further entries will be considered.
9. A prize of a large parcel of veneers will be sent to the member submitting the winning entry.
10. The winner’s name and the correct solution will be published in the next issue of the “Marquetarian.”
11. Entries cannot be acknowledged.
12. Proceeds of the competition, less expenses, will be put to the funds of the Society.
Amboyna Burr 1
African Walnut 5
Black Bean 7
Brown Oak 8
Figured Walnut 12
Figured Rosewood 13
Indian Silver 15
Macassar Ebony 20
Myrtle Burr 22
Sequoia Burr 31
Thuva Burr 36
Walnut Burr 40
NOTE.—Enter the NUMBER of the veneer only on your coupon. Any of the above veneers may be used as many times as you wish in each attempt.
THIS IS THE FIRST COMPETITION—LET’S MAKE IT A SUCCESS—THE MORE SUPPORT WE GET FOR IT THE BETTER WILL BE THE PRIZES IN SUBSEQUENT COMPETITIONS
TIMBER IDENTIFICATION by Cliff Penny
Peroba (Red).—Brazil. Also called Pale Rosa; red rose in colour with darker streaks; hard and brittle to cut; grain varies, sometimes straight but often irregular; texture fine; useful.
Peroba (White).—Brazil. Known by many names in Brazil including Peroba Branca, Ipe Peroba and Perona de canipos, is in fact a light olive to yellow green in colour; fairly straight grain, quite attractive in appearance, better known and identified as Golden Peroba.
Planetree.—Great Britain. Also known as Lacewood. normally cut on the true quarter when manufactured, which produces a series of flecks on a straw coloured background, almost the same basis and feature as Silky Oak, hence the name of Lacewood as the effect is not unlike lace; fairly hard; cuts well; very pretty and most suitable for a variety of marquetry purposes; have known commercial concerns advertise Planetree and Lacewood as two separate timbers; this is not so—they are one and the same tree.
Planetree Burr.—Alternatively known as Lacewood Burr. a lovely veneer, pale pink to a warm light brown colour with a delightful burr; ideal for tree and bush foliage; perhaps the term Lacewood is more fitting to the Burr than the previous veneer described; a definite essential for marquetry.
Rosewood.—Bombay. India; a purple coloured timber with a red tinge and a mixture of black; very hard: brittle; used mainly in piano trade, but has a reputation for being unreliable after polishing, having a tendency to crack. I have not experienced any difficulty in laying.
Photographs of the FIRST NATIONAL EXHIBITION of the Society are still available, and any new members who would like to purchase same are asked to write, enclosing Postal Order for 8s. 9d., to Douglas Walters, 788 London Road, Burpham, Surrey.
Copies of the New Rules of the Society will be issued to all our members as soon as possible.
As you will note from the resume of the Minutes of the Second Annual General Meeting of the Society, ALL MEMBERS are requested to register their vote concerning the VENUE of the Third Annual General Meeting of the Society. It has been decided that this he held during MAY 1954, but the choice of venue is to depend upon the majority vote of all members. Group Secretaries are asked to send in to Headquarters the voting of the group members in total.
Will members resident in, or near, NOTTINGHAM, NORTHAMPTON and LEEDS, please contact the Honorary General Secretary immediately regarding the acceptance of the NATIONAL EXHIBITION now on tour in their localities. We must have members willing to officiate in these centres on behalf of the Society during the Exhibition display.
The majority of members have still NOT CAST their vote on the controversial topic of DYED VENEERS. Please send in as soon as possible to Headquarters. A definite answer, YES or NO, is appreciated.
Since the last Journal was published, interesting letters have been received from the following places overseas: SOROTI, Uganda; SIMONSTOWN, South Africa; CORINDA, Australia. It is surprising to hear how popular the craft is all over the world.
The Marquetry Society was formed in order to serve the many hundreds of enthusiastic marquetry workers and to foster the spirit of true craftsmanship, With the first year behind us it may safely be said that many of the aims of the Society have become accomplished facts—the issue of a quarterly Journal which is improving with every issue; the first annual exhibition which was an unqualified success, the formation of district groups which are gradually springing up in many places—all this achieved in the first year is something of which we may all feel proud. But all these things take money, the printing of the Journal is costly; exhibitions, although great help was received over this, cannot be run f or nothing: the general administration of the Society (i.e., printing of stationery, postages, etc.), all these add up to quite a respectable sum. These expenses obviously must be met out of the Society’s income, and this at the moment is derived entirely from member’s subscriptions, which fact of course brings me to the main object of this article.
In order to keep down the expenses of administration and to avoid unnecessary correspondence all members are requested to renew their membership promptly and to forward their subscriptions to the Honorary Treasurer, either direct or through their group secretaries, as and when they become due.
In this respect members are advised that subsequent upon a Resolution passed at the Annual General Meeting on the 30th August 1953, the due date of ALL subscriptions shall henceforth be 1st APRIL ANNUALLY. This means that subscriptions becoming due before the 31st MARCH 1954 shall be payable on the DUE DATE (i.e, 12 months after joining) pro.rata to the 31st March 1954, and a full year’s subscription of 10/- shall become payable in advance on the 1st APRIL 1954 and thereafter annually on the 1st April (SEE CHART 1).
Similarly, subscriptions falling due AFTER the 1st April 1954 but BEFORE the lst April 1955 shall be payable on the DUE DATE (i.e., 12 months after joining pro-rata to the 31st March 1955 and a full year’s subscription of 10/-s. shall become payable in advance on 1st APRIL 1955 and thereafter annually on the 1st APRIL (SEE CHART 11).
The following charts will explain the position:—
RENEWAL OF SUBSCRIPTIONS (EXISTING MEMBERS)
CHART 1. SUBS. NOT YET RENEWED
Date of Joining
Subscription Renewal Date
Amount due on Renewal date for membership to 31-3-54
Subscriptions due on 1-4-54 for 1 year's membership
CHART 11. SUBS. ALREADY RENEWED AND MEMBERS
JOINING BETWEEN 1-4-53 AND 31-8-53
Date of Joining or renewal
Subscription Renewal Date
Amount due on Renewal date for membership to 31-3-55
Subscriptions due on 1-4-55 for 1 year's membership
A Resolution was also passed that NEW MEMBERS joining AFTER 31st August 1953 should pay on joining a pro-rata subscription effective from the 1st of the subsequent quarter month until the following 31st MARCH, and thereafter a full subscription of 10/-s. to become due in advance on the 1st APRIL ANNUALLY (SEE CHART 111).
CHART 111. NEW MEMBERS (JOINING AFTER 31st AUG. 1953)
Date of Joining
Subscription payable on joining
|Effective dates of membership
Subscriptions due on 1st April following effective date of membership
Jan. any year
Jan. any year
Jan. any year
Jan. any year
Jan. any year
Jan. any year
Jan. any year
Jan. any year
Jan. any year
Jan. any year
Jan. any year
Jan. any year
A further Resolution was passed cancelling the Rule whereby members could pay their subscriptions by quarterly or half-yearly payments. Except where stated in Charts 1, 11 or 111, membership subscriptions are now payable in full for one year in advance.
District Secretaries and other officials of the Society accepting new subscriptions or renewals are requested to make a careful note of the foregoing charts and strictly adhere to them, otherwise much unnecessary work and correspondence will be the result.
Please note that all NEW SUBSCRIPTIONS should be forwarded immediately direct to the Hon. General Secretary. RENEWALS should be forwarded immediately direct to the Hon. Treasurer together with name AND membership number.
When forwarding subscriptions please enclose a stamped addressed envelope for return of receipt.
All cheques and Postal Orders should be crossed and made payable to “The Marquetry Society.”
BIRMINGHAM GROUP REPORT by Mrs. P. K. Stenning
Two of the Birmingham members recently visited a Hospital at Coventry which is not fortunate enough to have an Occupational Therapist. The introduction was passed to us in connection with a patient who is very keen on the craft of Marquetry and permission was obtained from the Sister of the Ward for the visit to be made outside the normal visiting hours. Further visits are being made at the invitation of the Sister when it is hoped to give tuition to other interested patients.
The Meetings here are held fortnightly on a Wednesday evening and if any members have occasion to be in or near Birmingham, we do hope they will call in and see us.
During a stay in London, two of the members from here attended one of the London Group’s Meetings, and they would like us thank the London members for a very enjoyable evening.
Editor’s note.—It is understood from Mrs. Stenning that patients at the above hospital would appreciate any spare designs that members might have. I think members would be pleased to help here and suggest that those of you who have any spare tracings should forward them to Mrs. Stenning for transmission to the hospital.
GUILDFORD GROUP REPORT by D. K. Walters
The first meeting of the Guildford Group of the Marquetry Society was held at the Odeon Cinema, Guildford on May 26th 1953. There were six members of the Society present and several other interested people attended. The main business and purpose of this meeting was to discuss the shape and form that future meetings were to take.
It was decided that due to holidays and other summer activities it would be difficult to hold regular meetings during the Summer months, and it was therefore agreed that regular group evenings should commence in September and continue throughout the Autumn and Winter months at fortnightly intervals.
The majority of those present were fairly new to the craft and the opinion was that some programme of instruction should be planned for the forthcoming series of meetings.
We were very grateful for the offer of a large room made by one of the members, in which to hold future meetings.
An extremely pleasant evening was concluded with a general discussion on the craft of Marquetry.
And so we come to the present series of meetings now being held regularity every other Tuesday evening. A definite course of instruction in the craft is being followed included in which is the making of pictures from beginning to end, and most of the recognized methods will be taught and demonstrated. Also included in the programme are lectures on veneers, glues, and in fact on all aspects of the craft. We have had so far, two of these meetings, and all those attending have shown great keenness. However, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, and apart from the pleasant breaks we have at refreshment time each meeting, we hope to set aside an evening ‘here and there for purely social gatherings. The local youth clubs have become interested in the craft and we are hoping to help them form instruction classes within their own clubs.
Guildford Group is proud to put forward the claim that we have started the first “School of Marquetry” in the country.
LONDON GROUP REPORT by A. H. Staines
Once again Autumn is with us and we are able to spend more time on our hobbies. In London we held our first group meeting of the season on 10th September. Thanks to the excellent efforts of our retiring Secretary we had a very good muster of members and guests 34 in all. We were delighted to have as our guests Mr. and Mrs. Stenning from Birmingham and Mr. Piggales of Gatehead, and we hope that they are the forerunners of many more guests from the provinces.
The group Executive Committee has now planned the programme ahead as far as Christmas. We are to have a cutting demonstration by C. Penny, French Polishing by E. Vickers, mitre cutting by G. Cleaver veneer recognition by C. Penny, and a picture criticism session. We have already had one session on veneer recognition when C. Penny described and exhibited 25 samples, 12in. by 10in, and handed them around amongst the members. At the conclusion of the lecture the samples were held up one by one and members were asked to write down the names on papers provided. No member gave a 100 per cent, answer but the standard attained was high. We hope to continue these classes and hope eventually that all our members will be able to recognise at sight at least 100 veneers.
Another plan which we are putting into immediate operation is the purchase of technical books connected with marquetry; these we plan to circulate amongst our members for a small library fee. We are also considering the bulk purchase of polishes, etc., in order to cut members’ expenses.
In conclusion, should any member wish to join us at our meetings will he please contact me when I will be pleased to forward details.
MANCHESTER GROUP REPORT by P. G. Elgey
We have held 4 meetings altogether, the first being on Tuesday, 11th August 1953 at 141 John Dalton Street, Manchester on the top floor, which is now our regular fortnightly meeting-place. Up to now, we have had an average attendance of 12 and at our last meeting on the 22nd September. Mr. Hawkes brought along his equipment and gave a demonstration of his technique to a highly appreciative audience. His work (he also brought samples in various stages of completion) is, to say the least, exquisite, and needless to say, Mr. Hawkes was overwhelmed with a barrage of questions. At our next meeting on Tuesday, 6th October at the same address, and at 7 p.m. we hope to subject Mr. Hawkes to further questioning, and also to discuss our winter meeting day, as Tuesday is now rather inconvenient for some members.
This is the section of the Journal in which you are free to stand on your soap box and give forth. Make this a really lively column!
To the Editor.
Sir,—Whilst I found the letter, from Mr. K. H. Cudmore of interest, I cannot entirely agree with his remarks.
I am a comparatively raw beginner and like most beginners my first and successive attempts were with marquetry kit using balsa wood cement, but I have not been practising the craft long enough to test the adhesive quality of this cement over a period of time. It would appear to be effective for smaller pieces of veneer, but due to its quick drying properties I find it difficult to cover a large area with the cement in sufficiently quick time to complete the job before the application has begun to set. This causes blistering.
Having as yet no caul, I find the following method suitable for large areas such as borders:—
(1) Cut the border to size.
(2) Moisten the veneer on the top surface with a damp cloth.
(3) Apply Croid Aero Glue to the baseboard and back of the veneer.
(4) When glue is tacky lay veneer, and flatten by rolling with a round pencil (this will also push out any excess glue).
(5) Due to the moistening of the veneer, there will be shrinkage caused by the evaporation of the water and to ensure a good joint the veneer should be taped to adjacent pieces by strong gummed brown paper. If this method is used care should be taken not to mix the glue and cement when both are in a wet state as the glue will turn the cement a milky white leaving a very thin white line between pieces if the joint is not perfect.
(6) Place a piece of paper over the veneer and cover with a sheet of plate glass kept down with weights and leave for about four hour?.
For sanding the picture I use a Wolf Cub Drill with sanding attachment. A light sandpaper should be used and not too much pressure applied. Small circular marks will remain but these can be removed with “flour” paper used on a block.
As yet I have jibbed at trying my hand at French Polishing but on my last picture I tried Speedaneez which gave a pleasing effect but magnified small faults. I should like to have the opinions of those who have used this polish to discover if it has good lasting qualities.
Yours, etc., ALLAN E. WEBSTER.
(Editor’s Note—May I have an article on French Polishing please, to assist Mr. Webster and others?)
To the Editor.
Sir,—May I heartily endorse Mr. K. H. Cudimore’s letter on the use of balsa cement in marquetry. Having tried practically every glue on the market, I have come to the conclusion that balsa cement is by far the best adhesive, having had a picture completely submerged in sea water on a relief and with no bad effect to this day.
Yours, etc., D. G. SYTHES.
(Editor’s Note.—Mr. Sythes would like to correspond with other members. His address is Wolf Rock Lighthouse, do Trinity House Depot, Penzance. Cornwall.)
To the Editor.
Sir,— . . . is concerned with the Annual Exhibition.
It seems to me that as the membership increases we shall soon reach the stage where more entries are received than can be accommodated in the space available.
With this in mind, I think we should endeavour to agree on a method of limiting entries should this prove necessary.
This can be achieved either by (a) a numerical limit to the entries per member or (b) by a selective system. Of the two I think (b) is the better for the Society as a whole. If (a) were adopted it might not produce the required number of entries, some of the work might possibly be so poor as to reflect on the Society, and there would be no way of refusing to exhibit bad work.
By adopting (b) we should be sure that the work shown to the public was good, that all space was filled (by numerous entries from the mare prolific workers if necessary) and that bad or undesirable work was not shown. The greatest disadvantages to (b) are that one very good worker could steal the show (which I think we should accept for the good of the Society) and that a preliminary viewing would be necessary. Such a viewing should I feel be carried out centrally as although District Groups could do it, the danger of personalities influencing the selection (or rejection) is too great, apart from the difficulty of the isolated member.
All this may seem rather unnecessary at present, but I really do think that we should adopt some system now which is agreed by all and accepted as a rule by new members, rather than wait for the ‘occasion to arise and risk last-minute disputes and disagreements.
The second point I’d like to raise concerns a much wider field and is of far greater importance. It is—What policy shall we adopt to achieve the aims of the Society?
Our aim is quite clearly laid down “To preserve and advance, etc.,” but we have yet to decide by what methods we should pursue our objective.
As I see it there were two approaches: (a) the commercial field and (b) to become the recognised authority on the art (the R.A. (M) or the 'City and Guilds'). The commercial field has been very firmly rejected (and I think rightly so) which leaves us with (b).
This is much more difficult to carry out, and can only succeed if the public as a whole accept the Society as being the last word on the subject. This leads me to the conclusion that we must have a laid down standard of work. I don’t mean for entry into the Society, but rather as a “passing out” test which would carry with it the privilege of using the Society’s name for commercial ends— or purely as “letters after his name.”
Such a standard would of course have to be very high indeed. Something at which we could aim but not hope to achieve, without years of hard work and study. It should be both practical and theoretical and denote absolute mastery of all branches of the art— but not in any way connected win the awards at the Exhibition.
This I know would be extremely difficult to start and to operate but it might pay dividends in increased interest—and membership— and would certainly be pursuing our object.
I must emphasise that the above are purely my own suggestions and are put forward because, if not themselves acceptable, they may give rise to discussion which will produce something practical and desirable.
At all costs, we must not remain “a group of enthusiasts who write to each other”—that way lies the death of the Society.
Yours, etc., M. W. A. WRIGHT.
To the Editor.
Sir,—My favourite size of completed picture is of 10ins, by 13ins. and the actual picture itself 10½ins, by 7¾ins. I use French mahogany as a base and proceed to cut out the top veneer 12ins. by 9ins. This gives me the chance to work on the picture from the top with the border ⅝in. and then I commence as normal to fit the rest of the subjects to complete the picture. I find that this method gives me a picture without warping as the grain in the larger parts coincides with the extracted top veneer.
Another point I would like to mention is the picture itself— the completed article. I do not fake say picture in any way, I just smooth the wood with abrasives and finish with methylated and linseed oil. The reason I mention this fact is that bad jobs can so easily be faked with French Polish. Do you agree? (Editor’s note.—Well readers do you agree? If not, let me have your views for the next issue.)
I have never used dyed veneers as I find it is much more satisfying to study the natural veneers. I suppose they can produce a “nice” picture, but for my choice give me the natural veneer every time.
Yours, etc., A. A. CARSWELL.
LATE NEWS FLASHES
1. We learn with pleasure that a leading publishing house has accepted for publication a book on marquetry by C. Penny who was the overall winner at our Guildford Exhibition.
2. Members will be pleased to know that D. J Sythes, our Wolf Rock member took third prize in the Trinity House Handicrafts Competition which was run in conjunction with the Handicrafts Exhibition at the Central Hall, S.W.1. His exhibit was a reproduction of the Trinity House Coat of Arms done in marquetry. At the same Hall London members had six pictures exhibited on the “Mechanix Illustrated” stand for which they received £2 per picture.
3. The results of the judging in the Marquetrv Section of the Popular Handicrafts Competition in the first International Handicrafts Exhibition at the Empire Hall. Olympia. have just come in and readers will be delighted to know that the main awards were won by Society members. The bronze plaque was won by C. W. West, “Evenfold,” Kanes Hill, Bitterne, Southampton, whilst the bronze medal was won by C. Penny, 117 College Gardens, Chingford, E.4. In addition to these awards a number of certificates of merit were awarded to Society members. Full details will be given in the next issue of the Journal.
4. Mr. West’s winning entry went forward to the finals of the British Handicrafts Exhibition and he has won a Silver Plaque as one of the best exhibits of the whole show. In the same section Mr. C. Penny was also awarded a bronze plaque. I am sure all members will join me in offering sincere congratulations for these very fine efforts.
5. The judging of the Marquetry Section of the Exhibition at Olympia was performed by Mr. D. K. Walters, the Honorary General Treasurer of the Society. It is particularly gratifying that the organisers of the Exhibition should turn to the Society for their judge. It is healthy sign that the Society is being recognised as the authority on marquetry. The particularly striking thing is that, to the judge, all pictures merely represented a competition number, yet when the winners were identified by the organisers after the judging, the Society had swept the board.
6. Should any member win any prizes in local exhibitions with rnarquetry of any form, would they please inform me in order that I may include details in the Journal.
THE MARQUETRY SOCIETY
Vice-President: E. K. ROWLING, Esq.
Hon. General Treasurer: D. K. WALTERS, Esq.
Hon. General Secretary: J. COX, Esq.
Members of the Executive Committee of the Society:
Messrs. J. COX, G. CRAWFORD, N. MALYN, R. C. STENNING,
D. K. WALTERS, A. WEBSTER and E. VICKERS
District Hon. Secretaries:
Birmingham: Mrs. P. K. STENNING, 921 Birchfield Road, Perry Bar,
Guildford: Mr. D. K. WALTERS, 718 London Road, Burpham,
London: Mr. A. H. STAINE’S, 187 Campbell Court, Church Lane,
Manchester: Mr. A. MINSHALL, 157 Fenton Avenue, Great Meer,
Mr. N. MALYN, 529 Shell Road, Lewisham, S.E.13
All rights are reserved on articles and competitions published in this
Porson Printing Co. (TU), Porson Street,
Lewisham, S.E.13. Tel.: LEE Green 6663
Rear Cover of Issue number 4
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